This highly original study of the 'manic style' in enthusiastic writing of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries identifies a literary tradition and line of influence running from the radical visionary and prophetic writing of the Ranters and their fellow enthusiasts to the work of Jonathan Swift and Christopher Smart. Clement Hawes offers a counterweight to recent work which has addressed the subject of literature and madness from the viewpoint of contemporary psychological medicine, putting forward instead a stylistic and rhetorical analysis. He argues that the writings of dissident 'enthusiastic' groups are based in social antagonisms; and his account of the dominant culture's ridicule of enthusiastic writing (an attitude which persists in twentieth-century literary history and criticism) provides a powerful and daring critique of pervasive assumptions about madness and sanity in literature.
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(228mm x 152mm x 15mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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